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Hermitage celebrates Battle of New Orleans anniversary

Staff Reports • Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM

HERMITAGE –Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage commemorated the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans on Monday by offering visitors free admission to the presidential home and holding an annual wreath-laying ceremony in addition to other special events.

An estimated 200 guests attended the commemoration program and wreath-laying ceremony that featured guest speaker Brian Kilmeade, author and broadcaster for Fox News, and members of the Tennessee National Guard. Following the ceremony, Kilmeade held a talk to discuss his latest book, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.”

“Today is the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, which was Andrew Jackson’s major victory as a military leader,” said Howard J. Kittell, CEO and president of the Andrew Jackson Foundation. “Winning that 35- to 45-minute-long battle was just against tremendous odds against the British, and Jackson immediately became an American hero. The level of celebrity is hard for us to imagine today. So every year, we commemorate that battle on Jan. 8.”

The Hermitage’s annual commemoration of the Jackson-led U.S. victory over British troops is a tradition within the organization that dates back to the 1890s. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.

Kilmeade was in Lebanon on Sunday for a meet and greet and book signing of his latest book, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.”

Kilmeade, who is part of “Fox & Friends,” morning show on the Fox News Network, was in Middle Tennessee to help commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, which took place Jan. 8-26, 1815 in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Then-Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson led the American combatants into battle against the British.

The book is Kilmeade’s fifth and follows the highly popular, and New York Times bestsellers, “George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution” and “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History.”

Kilmeade met customers of CenterStone Bank on Sunday in Lebanon for the free event. More than 150 people attended the event.

John Bryan, CedarStone vice president and marketing director, said the Lebanon event came together because CedarStone Bank president Bob McDonald serves as a vice regent on the board of trustees for Andrew Jackson Foundation.  

“We were honored to work with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in hosting this event for Brian,” McDonald said. “His book depicts the Battle of New Orleans in such a way that young people, teenagers and senior adults can grasp the man, the leader and the legend of Andrew Jackson.”

On the foggy morning of Jan. 8, 1815, at a place that has come to be known as Chalmette Battlefield just downriver from New Orleans, Jackson led a ragtag army of Americans to a stunning victory over the highly trained British forces at the Battle of New Orleans. It was the final major battle in the War of 1812. The battle lasted less than 30 minutes, and the result changed America and stunned the world. By the time the smoke had cleared, the British had sustained 2,000 killed, wounded, missing or captured. Jackson’s own losses were only 71. It was the most lopsided defeat ever suffered by a British army. The battle changed how both Americans and Europeans thought about the United States’ experiment in self-government, branded Jackson as an American military hero and served as the springboard for Jackson’s eventual election to the U.S. presidency in 1828. 

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, the Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. The Hermitage is currently a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. 

In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of 200,000 annual visitors. In 2015, the Hermitage launched Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, a state-of-the-art exhibit that delves into the life of Andrew Jackson, including his military and presidential careers.

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